MEDIA AND MESSAGE
My friend and former publisher Margaret Busby, to whom I showed the poem that follows, Beware Paparazzi!, suggested I send it to The Guardian. As for my accompanying letter, I learned that its addressee Ms McAfee is/was the partner of the much-praised wordmonger Ian McEwan — another who, like Prof. Prynne, seems to invite explication if not accolades. There was anyhow no Grauniad acknowledgement either of my letter or of the verse-critique. A few years on, however, I feel that the poem (plus or minus its 'back story') still retains some measure of critical and satirical pertinence.
21st May 2004
Dear Annalena McAfee
Many Guardian readers will promptly have forwarded Robert Potts's absurd eulogy. Through The Oval Window ( Review, 10th April), to Private Eye/Pseuds' Corner. An understandably tempting response - but my own riposte, while belated, may be more considered.
Hence the enclosed, Beware Paparazzi! - in verse form since (after reading Potts-on-Prynne), my initial hilarity and sense of disbelief found satirical shape and metrical focus.
How or why do I dare criticize your critic's extraordinary scholarship? Well, as a writer, I also relish and collect examples of the humourless and pretentious, and Potts's piece of longwinded pomposity takes some beating.
I can be contacted as above, just in case you or any colleagues on The Guardian with common sense and/or a comic sense feel like acknowledging receipt, or springing to the defence of your favoured, if not pre-eminent, literary pair.
"The Sunday Times had no trouble snatching an impertinent photo of him cycling down the street a few weeks ago..." [Robert Potts on 'the famously obscure poet Jeremy Prynne', The Guardian, April 2004]